Nard Kubben joins IMB as a Group Leader


Mainz, 12 March – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is delighted to welcome Nard Kubben as a new Group Leader. Nard joins us from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, where he worked as a research fellow. Nard’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of ageing and ageing-related diseases in humans using Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome as a model.

Ageing is common risk factor in many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and chronic kidney and lung diseases. Identifying ways to delay ageing is an important step in preventing and treating these diseases. Unfortunately, our current understanding of the molecular pathways that control ageing is limited due to a lack of robust model systems in which to study human ageing.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is an extremely rare premature ageing disease in which patients age six times faster than normal. The disease is caused by a mutation in the lamin A gene, which causes an aberrantly spliced form of lamin A called progerin to be produced. Importantly, low levels of progerin are also produced during normal physiological ageing, and progerin has been directly linked to many hallmarks of cellular ageing. HGPS patients share remarkably similar pathologies with normal, aged individuals, and their cells display the classical hallmarks of ageing (e.g. genomic instability, loss of heterochromatin and proteostasis, impaired mitochondria, activation of the senescence pathway). Therefore, HGPS is an ideal model for studying ageing.

In his previous work, Nard developed a cell system in which progerin expression can be induced and titrated. Using this system, cellular ageing defects can be induced in a matter of days, rather than decades, providing an extremely useful model for studying the ageing process. Now in his new lab at IMB, Nard will use high-throughput imaging and genome-wide screening technologies to study ageing in his cellular system. Through these studies, Nard aims to unravel the mechanistic basis of human ageing and identify novel anti-ageing pathways that can be used to treat disease.

Further details

Nard Kubben is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Further information about research in the Kubben lab can be found at www.imb.de/kubben.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press(at)imb.de